The heat in the room, the pounding music that thumps your heart, the drinks that you’ll down because of how thirsty you are. It doesn’t matter who the guy is, as long as someone is telling you the words you want to hear. That you are beautiful, desired, and worth it; that he’s never met anyone as funny and cute as you. If you were to check in with yourself and think, instead of simply feeling how good this charming stranger’s hand feels on the back of your neck and that his flirtatious words sooth a dry spot in your cracked heart, you might realize how deeply unsettling it is that a stranger can have such an emotive effect on you. Your heart is broken, and you don’t even know it. And you are willing to do anything to feel the love you deserve. Even through the combined magnetism and repulsion, disconcerting push and pull, feelings of anxiety and excitement of his lips on yours. But is this really what you deserve, is this really what you want to feel, a confusing mix of precious and worthless?
Bodies are packed against each other. Trying to sway and move to the music. Drunken arms cling to the seductive figures behind them. Guys grope anyone with the boldness to wear a thigh-high dress. Girls stumble in their sparkling high heels, splashing you and everyone around them with sticky, sweet alcohol. Your dress clings to you from sweat and other peoples’ beverage, and for a second you think, “I wasn’t made for this.” All you want is to be alone, safe, in the fresh air that the cool night offers. You silently long for the quiet solace that the twinkling stars in the black sky whisper down to you. You languish for two moments of reality, without someone physically pushing past you as if you are just an object in the way. But. The thoughts are fleeting as the noise is loud, the beat is deep, and you remember that the guy behind you is judging everything you do. Your moments of being kept in his arms or abandoned on the dance floor to the ocean of men around you hinge on how you move your body against his and the witty comments you throw back to his seductive manners. So, you shake off the annoyance, pain, and all thoughts of relief with a flip of your curls, a sassy dark-lipped smile, and another swig of bitter alcohol. And the drink does exactly what it is supposed to. As it takes away the pain it also dulls any faint hint of the still small voice inside that wants you to desperately know, there is more to life than this. This is not your destiny. And yes, you do deserve love. But not like this. Not from a provocative pub rat that captured your attention with a free drink and hot breath on your cold skin.
This still small voice is asking, telling, pleading for you to listen. But when the pub rat’s hand moves to yours and the other pulls you close, what becomes reality? The reality is you are scared, and the still small voice is so far away as you put the glass to your lips once more. You know you should stop, but you’re just so thirsty. And you forget to ask yourself, is a drink with this guy, a sloppy sweaty kiss in the night, worth the shame and regret you know you will feel in the morning? Or did you forget, that the last time you did this- the last time you allowed someone to make you feel important for two minutes in the night- you woke up feeling so empty and lonely that you were scared to be alone for fear of what might happen? Did you forget?
You know people are watching, but they are all doing it too. After all, this is why people came here. For a kiss and a word and a moment to feel the love they deserve. And you forget to ask yourself is this what love is? His hand moves to your thigh and suddenly it’s too much. But you laugh, because if you don’t, he might leave you. And then you will be alone because you don’t know where your friends are. And since you are insecure, you keep dancing and drinking, drowning out the war of voices inside of you as he pulls you even closer to himself, doing things to your body you would just rather not remember. So you drink to forget and drink to be encouraged. He doesn’t know, no one knows, not even your friends of the pain that you feel.
Ahh the friends, and there is another word that lines up perfectly on this Path of Fake you find yourself stumbling down quickly. The friends who just an hour before said you were beautiful, hot, sexy and damn it if you don’t deserve the best guy tonight. So they left you in his arms, because clearly this attractive beguiling guy, with one thing on his mind, is the best you can do. You and your friends had kissed and hugged each other, giggling as you painted your faces with red, pink, and all manner of colors and shapes around your eyes; covering the God-given “blemishes” that you don’t want the world to know about. And as you drank wine and posed in front of the bathroom mirror you told each other, “This, this is how I want the world to see me.” This is as close as you will be to a model on a magazine cover, and so you pursed your lips and flashed your cameras, hoping for a thousand likes online to boost your confidence in the fake appearance you all so carefully wrapped yourselves in.
Wait a second, you think. When did the Path of Fun and Freedom become the Path of Fake? And where are you now, oh child dancing in the night? When did you end up on the Path of Lonely and Alone? You were untouchable. Right? You were dancing with the crowd in laughter. But how long ago was that? Ten minutes, weeks, months? Did you lose the crowd on Path of Fake? Were there that many twists and turns in the tunnels of your heart and mind that everyone left you to Path of Lonely?